SIR Paul McCartney has joined those sending tributes to a Bournemouth-based singer who performed with some of the biggest names in music.

Sheila Casey, who has died from cancer, toured with the Beatles and performed with superstars including the Rolling Stones, Donovan, The Hollies and James Last.

With her sister Jeanette, Sheila made a string of singles in the early to mid-1960s. Known as the McKinley Sisters, they toured with and befriended The Beatles who joined their fan club.

In 1975 Sheila met her husband, saxophonist Howie Casey, who worked with the Beatles before playing with Sir Paul and Linda McCartney’s band Wings. The couple moved to Bournemouth in 1979.

Although they performed all over the world they also made their presence felt on the local music scene, most notably as mainstays of The Slobs rock ’n’ soul outfit. They also appeared regularly at Beatles festivals and conventions in Liverpool and Hamburg.

Howie, who played on numerous Wings albums and toured the world with the band, led the tributes to his wife.

He said: “Sheila was a wonderful woman who never complained, right up to the end. She was 71 but didn’t look her age. Sir Paul has sent a huge floral bouquet expressing his sadness and the McCartney family’s love and sympathy.”

Former Daily Echo journalist, freelance writer Nick Churchill, said: “Sheila and Jeanette made a string of charming white bread pop singles, performing Sweet and Tender Romance on Ready Steady Go.

“Luminaries such as Donovan and Jimmy Page played on the McKinleys’ records and they also sang with The Rolling Stones, The Hollies, James Last and Ringo Starr.

“Along with Jeanette and Howie, Sheila was an integral part of the mid-70s funk-rock supergroup Paice Ashton & Lord, appearing on their 1977 album Malice in Wonderland.

“Without the likes of Howie and Sheila Casey, superstar songwriters like Paul McCartney would struggle to make their vision a reality.”

Nick added: “Sheila Casey was a supremely talented artist, yet humble enough to remain a wonderfully warm human being.

“And this Christmas if we hear the heavenly host singing with a more recognisably blues-rock roar, we’ll know why.”

Sheila died in the early hours of December 16. Her funeral will be held at 3pm tomorrow at Harbour View woodland burial ground, Lytchett Minster.